The Pro Chef Middle East to relaunch in the Middle East

The Pro Chef Middle East, part of CPI Media Group is set to relaunch in September 2017 across the Middle East. The relaunch will see the magazine’s print and online issue published quarterly and will focus on chef interviews, recipes, industry trends and news. The magazine will be distributed as a complimentary publication to professional culinary teams as well as leading F&B suppliers and producers across the region.

The relaunch will also see the appointment of Sophie McCarrick to the role of Editor. Having worked across the group’s titles for five years, Sophie was previously Deputy Editor of The Pro Chef Middle East and is currently Editor of BBC Good Food Middle East, which she will continue to hold. In her new role, she will be responsible for all print content planning within the magazine as well as writing, editing and conceptualising new ideas for features and supplements. She will also assist with the planning of brand events such as chef competitions and the annual The Pro Chef Middle East Awards, to be held in November 2017.

“Having worked on The Pro Chef Middle East brand two years ago as Deputy Editor, I’m extremely excited to see the magazine relaunch following my new role as Editor,” says Sophie. “Backed by a wealth of talented and passionate chefs, the region’s F&B scene continues to go from strength to strength and I look forward to seeing the publication support ongoing growth.”

CPI launches online technology platform

CPI Media Group has launched online technology platform, The new platform will cover stories from the technology industry as well as offer technology decision makers and business leaders across the region an online forum to express their opinions and share stories about the industry. will also include CPI’s online technology publications such as, Computer News Middle East (CNME), Reseller Middle East and Security Advisor Middle East to create a digital home for readers across the region granting them access to the latest news, data and analysis under one platform.

“The launch of is a hugely exciting new development for CPI Media Group and its long-established technology brands,” says Natasha Pendleton, Publishing Director, CPI Media Group. “By unifying our current digital offerings under one new platform, we are consolidating up-to-date technology and business transformation news from across the region, whilst offering new fantastic opportunities through original video content generation, thought leadership editorials and digitally focused events.”

In The Hot Seat – Tom Paye

Tom Paye, Editor at, tells TMN about how he started his career in media and what he thinks about the industry in the Middle East…

Name: Tom Paye

Age: 28

From: United Kingdom

Current job title: Editor,

When did you first arrive in Dubai?

About 21 years ago, when I was just a kid.

Where did you work prior?

I’ve only ever worked in Dubai since coming back from university in the UK. Before joining, I was a freelance journalist and before that, I’d worked at some of the region’s major publishing houses, including ITP and CPI Media Group.

What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?

 I think the first thing I noticed about publishing here was just how well small teams can put together high quality titles. My first job here was as an intern and soon after a Staff writer, at a small editorial agency and that company is still going pretty strong, at the time, I was fresh out of university with no real-life experience and I had these grand ideas about working in a big newsroom full of journalists getting big scoops on the latest stories.

But when I turned up, we were just four writers and a designer in a small office! That sort of brought me back down to earth and I came to realise it’s possible to put together pretty good magazines with just a few solid team members. It was a bit of disillusionment, but the heads of the company really put a lot of effort into training me to not only write great stories but also to project manage multiple magazines. It was nothing like I expected but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Has your opinion changed much?

Well, I continue to see great magazines produced by tiny teams, so not really. That being said, I’ve worked on weeklies and dailies since then and so I’ve been part of more traditional newsrooms too. I guess now I’m pretty much in awe of the breadth of print media in this region – there’s something to fill every niche and these titles are produced by teams ranging from just a few people in size to full-on publishing houses.

Tell us about your current role…

As Editor at, it’s my job to pretty much handle all the written material that the company puts out. That includes creating relevant and high-quality press releases, guiding the executives on their written feature responses and looking after Your Money, the blog section of the website dedicated to personal finance. I also handle the company’s Twitter account, but that’s mostly because I’m on Twitter all day anyway.

What challenges do you face?

I think the biggest challenge is continuously coming up with relevant PR content that editors (and their readers) will find useful. Luckily, we enjoy really good relationships with the media here and our editor friends are always happy to provide us with a few pointers on the type of content they need from us.

I really subscribe to the view that, if you’re going to send something out to the press, it had better be worth reading. That means providing timely, relevant content that’s actually newsworthy not some small bit of company news that no one outside our office cares about. Keeping up that standard all the time is quite difficult. It can be so easy to just put out some inane announcement just to get something out there. I’m trying not to do that. And if any of my journalist friends are reading this and I don’t live up to the above, feel free to send me a snarky email!

How do you overcome writer’s block?

For me, the quickest remedy is to simply step away from my desk for 15 minutes, grab a coffee, have a look on Twitter and just mentally disconnect from the story. Nine times out of ten, I’ll come back to my desk with a fresh idea and that will help me get going again.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Where to start! I love the range of stories that I cover – from car reviews to in-depth analysis on the finance industry. I also love the office atmosphere – people are always playing pranks on one another, skateboarding around the office, playing ping pong or just coming up with ridiculous games.

I think the most important thing from a long term job satisfaction point of view, is that the service is genuinely useful for people in the Middle East. We’re actually saving people money on their financial products – honestly, I’m not just saying that because I work here. I had someone come up to me at GITEX this year and she told me about how our mortgage comparison portal had helped her find a home loan and that she wouldn’t have found such a good mortgage without the service. It’s immense when you hear people explain that the company you work for has helped them achieve big life goals.

How would you rather be contacted at work?

No preferences, really – shoot me an email or give me a call.

What do you think of the media ethics in the UAE?

I don’t think that media ethics are very different here to anywhere else in the world. The majority of journalists and publishing houses I’ve come into contact with here are simply looking to get to the heart of a story and to then relay something informative and entertaining to their readers. Of course, you hear stories of bloggers or whoever trying to exchange coverage for freebies, but they stick out like a sore thumb on both sides of the media industry.

On the other side of it, I think we’ve all been in situations where a certain brand may be trying to buy good coverage with their advertising dollars. And to be honest, who wouldn’t be tempted to just allow it, given the struggles in the print industry? But again, I think that, these days, this is pretty uncommon – even publishers that might have indulged in this practice before now want to bring the reader’s trust back. And so they’re doing things like selling native advertising where the content is marked as sponsored. In my experience, journalists and publishers have been working hard to reconcile the coverage-advertising struggle and we’re starting to see a reasonably ethical balance come out of that.

What do you think of publishing houses in the UAE?

I think they do an incredibly tough job with dwindling resources, but that they are really important for the local economy. No big international title is going to cover the UAE in the detail that residents and business people here want, so it’s down to the local publishing houses to offer proper reporting, comments and analysis on what’s happening here.

Unfortunately, as we all know, ad spend on print titles is on the decline, so that has put the traditional publishing business model in jeopardy. There have been a couple of high-profile closures this year and that’s never good to see. That being said, there are publishing houses looking for new revenue streams and new business models, and from what I can see, this is starting to pick up some of the slack. Hopefully we’ll see more out of the box thinking that allows publishing houses to continue distributing high-quality regional content.

If you can change something about the media in the UAE what would it be?

Adding to the above, I think smarter media selling is needed to ensure the survival of the local media industry. Brands want to go through local media to reach targeted, local audiences, but the traditional advertising format simply doesn’t provide enough of a return on investment. The thing is, media companies here have these fantastic assets in the titles they carry and these can be incredibly valuable to advertisers. Advertisers and media companies just need to work out, between them, how to maximise that value without compromising the integrity of the media.

How would you describe yourself at work?

I’m pretty chilled, I guess. I turn up, get my work done and try to be part of the team. I like to think I’m pretty helpful – if anyone needs something doing, I like to put myself forward if I can help.

Describe yourself in five words…

Charming, good looking, super-smart, rich and none of the above.

What’s your most overused saying?


Five things you can’t live without?

My iPhone, my MacBook, my Fiat 500, my dogs and my wife (to whom I’d say these are in no particular order!).

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

I’d probably still be a struggling freelancer, working from home, taking the dogs for long walks and occasionally getting work done in between PlayStation breaks. I wonder why I struggled?

What’s your favourite form of media?

I love, love, love magazines. My wife is a magazine designer, so between us, we have hundreds of titles stacked up around the house. We actually did a clear out a few months ago and still ended up keeping boxes of magazines. If we’re out and about, and we see a magazine, we’ll pick it up and analyse it – its design, the quality of its paper, the copy and the brands advertising in it. There’s something so nice about a properly done magazine.

What advice would you offer to someone looking to start a career in the media industry in the UAE?

 I’d say be prepared to work really, really hard. When many of us started out six or seven years ago, the whole media revenue decline thing wasn’t being felt that much. Sure, we’ve all worked really hard to get to where we are, but now things are even tougher and organisations are a lot leaner, meaning everyone has to work that much more. If you’re not put off by that, then, for god’s sake, enjoy it. If you love creating things, there are few more rewarding jobs to be found anywhere in the world.

Voting open for Mother, Baby & Child Awards

Voting is now open for the fifth annual Mother, Baby & Child Awards, presented by Mother, Baby & Child magazine, part of CPI Media Group. There are 31 categories open for voting this year, with 340 nominees competing for awards including; New School of the Year, Nursery of the Year and Kids Entertainment Centre of the Year. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony due to be held on December 7, 2016 at Habtoor Grand, Dubai Marina.

To vote, head to

Voting opens for BBC Good Food ME Awards

Voting has opened for the seventh annual BBC Good Food Middle East Awards, hosted by BBC Good Food Middle East magazine, part of CPI Media Group. There are 32 awards up for grabs this year, with new categories including; Best Afternoon Tea, Best Business Lunch and Best Food Delivery App. Voting for the awards closes on October 13, 2016 and winners will be announced at a ceremony on November 7, 2016.

“Our awards are all about celebrating the best in food across the region from a consumer’s point of view and along with new categories that can be voted for online, I’m excited to announce that we have added an ‘Up and Coming Chef of the Year’ award, which is a cook-off judged by a panel of experts and runs alongside our famous ‘Chef of The Year’ competition,” says Sophie McCarrick, Editor, BBC Good Food Middle East.

To vote in the awards, visit

Tom Paye goes freelance

Tom Paye has made the move to freelance journalism from his role as e-Content Specialist at Hilti Middle East, Turkey and Africa. Tom brings over six years of experience with him and has worked for companies such as ITP Publishing, CPI Media Group and White Fox Media on publications such as Arabian Computer News, Network Middle East and Computer News Middle East. He will continue to work on covering the IT industry in the Middle East for various clients, as well as taking on projects that involve covering the luxury lifestyle sector and motor industry. 

“I think it’s every journalist’s dream job – to go freelance, to work on your own time, on the projects you really want to do,” says Tom. “I’ve been lucky in that a few things have fallen into place and now I’ve got an opportunity to make it work. I’m really looking forward to taking on the challenge and hopefully I’ll be building great relationships with great titles for years to come.”

Surena Chande to leave Hospitality Business Middle East

Former Deputy Editor of Hospitality Business Middle East Surena Chande has made the move to freelance journalism and blogging. With over three years of experience, Surena has worked on publications including Ahlan!, Cosmopolitan Middle East, Good Taste, La Femme and BBC Good Food Middle East. She will now be working on digital media and print for both consumer and trade publications, as well as blogging on lifestyle, fashion, beauty and travel at

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at CPI Media Group on great publications,” says Surena. “However, I’m now looking forward to diversifying across a selection of titles and brands, both in the region and internationally, as well as focussing on my blog that has been somewhat neglected while working full-time.”


BBC Good Food ME winners announced

The sixth annual BBC Good Food Middle East Awards 2015 took place on Monday, February 15, 2016 at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa, Dubai Marina. With over 350 people from the industry in attendance, the awards were voted for by consumers and recognised restaurants and culinary brands across a range of categories, with winners including Ripe Market for Favourite Health Food Store/Market, Samantha Wood of Foodiva for Best Food Blogger and Marina Social for Best New Restaurant – Dubai.

“Our awards are all about celebrating the best in food from across the region and recognising the tremendous growth seen in the Middle East’s F&B sector over the past year,” says Sophie McCarrick, Editor, BBC Good Food Middle East. “I’d like to congratulate not only the winners, but also all of our finalists, for making the event a great success! I’m really looking forward to another exciting year of development ahead.”

The full list of winners can be viewed at


CPI Media Group welcomes new Editor

CPI Media Group has welcomed Anirban Bagchi to the role of Editor of Construction Machinery Middle East (CMME). With 15 years of experience in journalism, Anirban has worked across several sectors for publications including the Qatar Tribune, Emirates 24/7 andGulf News. Most recently, he was Consulting Editor for Community Connexion, a community magazine distributed by the Khaleej Times. As Editor of CMME Anirban will oversee the magazine, reporting on and analysing the construction machinery sector in the region and beyond, as well as bringing new developments, trends and essential intelligence to its readership.
“I look forward to empowering CMME’s readers and stakeholders with focused content that engages them with a clear picture of the sector and help them to make informed decisions,” says Anirban.

Media mourn the loss of Dominic De Sousa

Dubai’s media community today mourns the tragic loss of Dominic De Sousa, Founder and Owner of CPI Media Group. With a media career spanning over 30 years and a reputation as an outstanding businessman, Dominic worked for Dubai-based companies Reed Business Publishing and ITP Publishing Group before founding Corporate Publishing International, now known as CPI, in the early 1990’s – a company he has owned ever since. The larger-than-life boss and keen showman died last night of heart complications while performing on stage at the BBC Good Food Awards, and he will be greatly missed by the media community.